Cambridge resident and CHS volunteer Annette LaMond has provided us with A History Reclaimed: The Society for the Protection of Native Plants and the Cambridge Plant Club, an in-depth, illustrated history of the two organizations that takes us back to their late 19th century origins.
“This history of the Society for the Protection of Native Plants grew out of my research for a history of an even older institution – the Cambridge Plant Club – from its founding in 1889, to its merger with the Cambridge Garden Club in 1965,” she writes.
When asked how she came to write the paper, Annette explained that, while she is an economist by training (with a PhD from Yale), she discovered her love of gardening—and history—years after completing her formal education. After joining the Cambridge Plant and Garden Club in 1987, she was quickly put to work writing the Club’s history in anticipation of its 1989 Centennial. As a first step, she prepared a time-line of the history of the club and found herself the designated Club Historian. She soon discovered that her prodigious research skills served her well developing her new passion, Cambridge history.
The paper explores the ties between the Society for the Protection of Native Plants (predecessor of the New England Wild Flower Society, recently renamed Native Plant Trust) Cambridge gardeners, including the Society’s president Professor Robert T. Jackson, a paleontologist who created an award-winning peony garden at his Fayerweather Street home. She also delves into some of the Cambridge Plant & Garden Club’s forgotten history: the role of the Cambridge Plant Club and the Garden Club (which were separate until 1966) in the revitalization of the New England Wild Flower Society and its acquisition of Garden in the Woods. One of the women involved, Ruth Cutter, was also a leading force in creating and planting the garden at the Hooper Lee Nichols House, headquarters of the Cambridge Historical Society. Mrs. Cutter and her sister propagated the yews that make up the hedge around the property, still a main feature of the garden.
We are grateful to Annette for her years of hard work tending the gardens at the Hooper Lee Nichols house, and for this, the latest of her many fascinating papers bringing Cambridge history to life.
Read more of Annette’s work: